The Hairy Truth and Conspiracy theories

Leonardo Da Vinci. Courtesy: The Conversation from Google Images

Leonardo da Vinci, the celebrated artist from the period of renaissance will be having a maniacal laugh from the heavens. Why not? He has all the rights to be pleasantly delighted at the insatiable inquisitiveness of the modern human beings of the 21st century.

Well, do you know the reason? If not, let me tell you. A tuft of his alleged hair from until recently undisclosed private collection will undergo DNA testing to check if they indeed belonged to him. And guess what, this test is being done after 500 years of his death on 2nd of May 1519 due to multiple brain strokes.

I wonder who might have stored his hair for such a long time… Five centuries to be precise.

I am sure that this will raise quite a lot many unanswered questions into the air. But I am sure that most of us will ask these two uncomfortable questions.

  1. In the first place, how and why did we get the hunk of hair so late?
  2. Was the timing of revelation to the world, yet another way of evoking curiosity amongst the devotional yet blinded followers of this legend?

Well, like most of you, even I don’t have answers to these fundamental questions. But through this article, I attempt to share a few of my observations.

Getting a biological sample of a legend from the past is sure enough to heighten astronomical levels of hype. But, the major dependency is always on the quality of the sample. In this case, it remains to be seen whether we get a good quality DNA for testing if at all. One can only hope for the best, to say the least.

But do we have a related biological sample for genealogical mapping? We all know that his tomb was desecrated during the French revolution and we don’t have any of his mortal remains or bones for comparison. Besides, tracing the genes of this legend is now next to impossible. Let me explain the reason.  

We do not know any of his living descendants, as it has been a long time to keep tabs on his lineage. His maternal and paternal genes might have crept into hundreds, if not thousands of families across the world. But, is the technology evolved enough to spot them? We are talking in an era of personal privacy both from data and biological point of view. The answer will be a hard-hitting No.

But yet another conspiracy is worth mentioning here. This was a long drawn debate on whether the original Mona Lisa portrait has eyelashes and eyebrows?

We too had this uncomfortable question facing us, but thankfully, a 240 Megapixel camera from an expert has temporarily settled this debate. The reason for the loss is stated that the art restorians inadvertently removed them. What a tragedy to destroy the cynosure of Leonardo Da Vinci’s eyes and its global fans. It took 10 years to stroke this masterpiece and maybe 10 mins to wipe it off.

Right from the curious loss of Mona Lisa’s eyebrows, to the surprising alleged possession of Leonardo’s hairs, the evolution of the much-celebrated artist’s works has truly turned into a full circle of unending debates and controversies!



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